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Homes destroyed in Tasmania bushfires

Report by Rob Gillett

Residents have returned to the small Tasmanian town of Dunalley in Australia to assess the damage caused by bushfires.

Flames tore through the town on Friday as temperatures soared above 40C.

Fire crews battled the flames as residents were forced to flee.

Local media reported that many sheltered on the beach or on boats as they watched the fire burn.

A weather change on Saturday brought cooler temperatures as emergency crews surveyed the damage.

Tasmania Police say at least 85 homes have been destroyed, as well as the local primary school, petrol station and bakery.

One man, sitting by the roadside choking back tears, explained that his house had escaped serious damage, but other members of his family had not been so lucky.

"Yes, my two nephews, they've lost both their houses.

"My brother's lost the mill up there, millions of dollars. I don't know...", he said.

Tasmania's fire service is still dealing with several other isolated bushfires burning across the state.

Bushfires are a natural phenomenon in Australia, due to its hot, dry environment.

Lightning strikes over dry land are the most common cause, followed by human actions such as fires that get out of control.

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